What the Heck? – The Highs and Lows of Bluffing

What the Heck? card game
What the Heck? card game

Put those meaty strategy games on the shelf and dial up some fast fun with What The Heck? This light and quirky card game for up to five players is designed by Alex Randolph and published by Amigo.

In What the Heck? players bluff their way to victory using a deck of cards numbered from 1 to 15. Each card can only be played once, and players who play the same card cancel each other out. The game rewards crafty and unexpected play — with either a Point Card in your pocket or a friend berating you for your silly play style!

With most games lasting only 15 minutes, What The Heck? is a fun and often humorous game that acts as a great filler between longer games or something easy to put on the table to get a group warmed up.

Setup

Give each player a set of cards in their color, numbered from 1 to 15. This set forms each player’s hand for the rest of the game. Shuffle the Point Cards and place them in the center of the table as a draw deck. The Point Cards are also a set of 15 cards, but these are numbered from -5 to +10. Draw the top Point Card and place it face up on the table.

Blue cards numbered 1-15, orange cards numbered 1-15
Player cards, numbered 1-15.

Gameplay

Over the course of 15 rounds, players compete to capture the highest number of points, one Point Card at a time. Each turn, players secretly select one card from their hand and place it face down on the table. Once all players have selected a card, players reveal their selections at the same time. If the face up Point Card is a positive number, whoever played the highest number collects the Point Card. If the face up Point Card is a negative number, whoever played the lowest number collects the Point Card.

The player who won the round places the Point Card face up in their play area. Discard the other Player Cards from that round face down. Draw the next Point Card and continue play.

In the case of a tie for either highest or lowest, the tied Player Cards cancel out—the next highest or lowest Player Card then takes the round. If all players tie, then no one wins the round. Discard all Player Cards and draw another Point Card. Both Point Cards are now in play for the new round. Play continues this way until someone wins the round. If everyone ties on the very last round, no one wins the Point Card(s).

The game ends when the Point Card deck is exhausted and all Player Cards have been played. Players total up their points—they add together their positive numbers and subtract their negatives. The player with the most points is the winner. If there is a tie for the winner, the players who tied cancel each other out and the player with the next highest total is the winner.

If you think all of this sounds pretty random and fun then this is certainly the game for you!

Impressions

What the Heck? is a humorous bluffing game anyone can pick up and play within minutes. With just two simple mechanics driving the flow of the game — draw a card and play a card — turns move quickly and the laughs and groans start coming fast. The game lives up to its name when players tie. It’s not unlikely that two high value cards will cancel out and the player who tossed a 2 or 3 will win a nice Point Card.

Center: -3 point card. Clockwise from top right: blue 8, orange 6, purple 10, yellow 8, green 6.
Players vie for the lowest number: but the orange and green 6s cancel out, and so do the blue and yellow 8s. The purple 10 is officially the “lowest” card! Purple must take the -3 point card.

Sometimes how your friends and family members play their cards will have you scratching your head, shrugging your shoulders, and saying “What the heck were you thinking?” And that’s the point of this fun little title—bluff your way to a satisfying win but make sure you never play the same way twice! Then again, maybe you should.

With such simple rules, my kids caught on fast, especially since everyone plays at the same time. What the Heck? got us laughing pretty quickly. We even played by blindly drawing a card from our hand and simply seeing what happened each round, since the tie-break rules are really what make the game fun. They also got bored of it quickly, so it’s best to limit to one or two plays at a time.

What the Heck point cards
The point cards have strange, fun illustrations.

For a small card game this one still delivers nice components. There’s a bit of an easter egg in the illustrations if you care to notice, and the art style perfectly fits the odd character of the game.

Since it’s so small and fast, What The Heck? is a great pick for 15 minutes after dinner, or easy to throw in a travel bag for summer vacations. Find it on Amazon or at your local toy and game store.


The Family Gamers received a copy of What the Heck? from Amigo for this review.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

What the Heck?
  • 8/10
    Art - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Mechanics - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Family Fun - 7/10
8/10

Summary

Number of Players: 2-5

Age Range: 8+

Playtime: 10 minutes

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